- COVID-19 strikes with alarming inconsistency. Most recover quickly while others die. The disease devastates some communities and spares others. Understanding why and how COVID-19 preys on some and not others is essential to limiting its spread and mitigating its impact.
- Postulating genetic susceptibility in the article “COVID-19 Susceptibility: Why Do Some Become So Ill?” in MedPage Today, Dr. Mark Zucker observes the virulence of the Coronavirus is patient-dependent and might be genetically determined. Italy has tragically experienced a fatality rate seven to ten times that of Germany and the United States.
- In addition to genetic susceptibility, social determinants of health (SDOH) are key identifiers of vulnerable populations. Dr. Michael McGinnis defined the SDOH. After years of research, he believed that genetics account for 30% of health and wellness, with the SDOH responsible for 70%. That 70% further divides into four subcategories: 15% for social circumstances such as income and education; 5% for environment, 10% for medical care, and 40% for lifestyle choices. By addressing the 70% non-genetic factors for health and wellness, communities and individuals can improve their health status.
- Individuals with chronic disease disproportionately die from COVID-19. COVID-19 kills by overwhelming the pulmonary system. Three prevalent lifestyle issues in American society compromise individuals’ pulmonary systems. They are obesity, tobacco use, and sedentary behavior.
- Shocking anecdotal evidence indicates an intense connection between the worst of COVID-19 and ethnicity and poverty. “Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate” argues that SDOH is the critical risk factor in COVID-19’s spread and virulence.